An experimental and numerical analysis of tension tests in the Hopkinson bar is made to assess the suitability of this method to characterize materials in tensile conditions at strain rates about 1000/s. The stress and strain fields that appear in the specimen are analyzed by the finite element method. This mathematical simulation of the test allows a check of the hypotheses normally used in obtaining results: equilibrium situation and uniform strain distribution in the specimen. The simulation process also provides some criteria to design the experimental setup and the specimen geometry for the best agreement with the ideal situation. Finally, because of the usual assumption regarding the uniformity of the strain distribution in the specimen may not be valid, some corrections are suggested to obtain reliable material properties from direct test results in different situations.
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